By Josh Brown
and Rob Kiser
FRANKLIN — For the last week of the regular season and in the Bulldogs’ first postseason game, Milton-Union’s Danielle McFarland had been slumping.
She chose the absolute perfect time to break out of it.
Early in the first overtime period in a scoreless sectional championship game.
McFarland, the Southwestern Buckeye League’s leading scorer this season, put home the game’s only goal Monday night, scoring five minutes into overtime to propel the third-seeded Milton-Union girls soccer team to a 1-0 Division III sectional championship victory over No. 5 Greeneview at Franklin High School.
The Bulldogs (13-4-1), who snapped a two-game losing streak with its semifinal win over Brookville, had plenty of chances throughout the match, winning the shots battle 16-6, but Greeneview’s goalkeeper kept the Rams alive — until McFarland sealed their fate.
“We controlled the match. They cleared the ball off the line four different times,” Milton-Union coach Andy Grudich said. “Their keeper had a great game keeping them in the contest. We played very well for 85 minutes.”
Milton-Union will now play Summit Country Day in the district final Thursday at Madeira High School.
Lehman 2, TC 1
SIDNEY — Rarely at the end of a tournament game do you see both coaches feeling positive
But that was exactly the case after the top-seeded Lehman girls soccer team got past a scrappy Troy Christian team that was seeded seventh 2-1 in the Division III sectional title game at Sidney Memorial Stadium/30&0 Field Monday night.
And with good reason.
Lehman, 13-4-1, moves on to play Cincinnati Country Day at 7 p.m. Thursday at Monroe High School for a D-III district title.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Lehman coach Jeremy Lorenzo said. “We had tied earlier this year. Brian (Peters) is a great coach and does a phenomenal job preparing his team. Anytime we go up against them, we know it is going to be a tough game. They put together two great games in the tournament to get here.”
And while Troy Christian ended the season at 9-8-2, Peters couldn’t have asked any more of his players.
“I am really proud of them,” he said. “The last four or five games, we got back to playing Troy Christian soccer. Jeremy (Lorenzo) always does a great job with his team. We had five strong seniors. Meredith (Haddad) didn’t play, but Hannah Benjamin, Gabby Flannary, Alyssa Donald and Liah Biller all played great tonight. They have played almost every minute of every game. That is going to be a tough group to replace. I thought our backs just played a great game tonight.”
All the scoring occurred late in the first half, with Kaitrin O’Leary scoring both Lehman goals.
“It just feels amazing,” O’Leary said about the two-goal game.
With about 18 minutes to go, Hannah Fogt had fired a free kick from 42 yards that only a leaping tip by Troy keeper Cara Salazar kept out of the goal.
At the 13:40 mark, O’Leary fired a shot that Salazar again was able to deflect, giving Lehman a corner. Grace Olding sent the corner out to the 30-yard line, where Moriah Pauley gave a O’Leary a ball in front of the goal that she headed in to make it 1-0.
O’Leary’s eyes lit up when she saw the ball coming.
“Moriah (Pauley) couldn’t have given me a better ball,” O’Leary said. “It was perfect.”
Later, Olding and Grace Monnin worked the ball down the field before crossing to O’Leary, who maneuver around a defender and found the net with 6:48 to go in the half.
“They got me the ball and I was able to create an angle on a shot,” O’Leary said.
Lehman was originally called for offsides on the play, but it was waived off.
“There was a re-direct,” Peters said. “They said the girl offside didn’t affect the play.”
Just when it seemed Lehman was in control, Troy Christian responded just a minute later.
After working the ball down the field, Kenley Blake crossed to Riley Spoltman, who put the ball in the back of the net.
“We are up 2-0 and feeling like we are in control,” Lorenzo said. “Then just like that, the lead was cut in half. I am not sure what happened, but they got a wide open shot and hit it.”
And while Lehman controlled the ball most of the second half, there was a deciding moment.
With 11:54 to go, Lehman keeper Grace Brandt deflected a shot off the goal post, which is out of play. When the ball came down in front of the goal, Troy Christian put it in and the Eagle fans thought the game was tied.
“I don’t think it was as exciting as it looked,” Lorenzo said. “The ball hit the goal post. Our kids knew it and quit and Troy Christian kept playing.”
Still, the Eagles had a corner kick and Benjamin placed it perfectly in front of the goal, but Lehman was able to clear the ball.
“It is not like we didn’t have opportunities,” Peters said.
It was the final opportunity for the Eagles, as Lehman controlled the ball much of the rest of the way.
With 9:05 remaining, Lehman had a 2-on-1, but when O’Leary crossed the ball to Sara Fuller, Salazar was somehow able to come out of goal and intercept the pass.
“She (Cara Salazar) is unbelievable back there and she is just a freshman,” Peters said. “She understands the game and has great vision.”
Lehman outshot Troy Christian 12-6. Salazar had seven saves, while Brandt had five.
Now, Lehman moves on to play Cincinnati Country Day.
“It should be a really good game,” Lorenzo said. “Cincinnati Country Day’s only loss is to Summit (Country Day), who also beat us.”
Carroll 2, Tipp 0
PIQUA — The Tippecanoe Red Devils — a regional finalist last season — could not recapture that postseason magic this year despite a stellar regular season as the No. 2 seeded Devils were upset by No. 4 Carroll 2-0 in the Division II sectional championship game Monday at Piqua.
It was the Devils’ first loss of the season, as well as the first time they’d given up more than one goal in a game.
Tippecanoe finished the season 14-1-3. Carroll moves on to face Ross in the district final Thursday at Wayne.
Tipp 3, Spr. Shawnee 0
NEW CARLISLE — The first time Tippecanoe and Springfield Shawnee met this season, the Braves edged the Devils in four.
The second time, Tippecanoe swept Shawnee, but in three extremely close sets.
In Monday’s Division II sectional volleyball championship game, the third-seeded Red Devils left no doubt, sweeping the No. 2 Braves in impressive fashion, 25-11, 25-17, 25-17 to win the title and advance to Saturday’s district final — the Devils’ first since 2010.
“This match was determined by our great ball control and aggressive attack while forcing Shawnee to play out of system,” Tippecanoe coach Howard Garcia said. “Our serving was to target, and we only had two serving errors. In my book, a very disciplined match.”
Aubrey Cox led Tippecanoe with 11 kills, two blocks and seven digs, Emily Shuk added nine kills, Alyssa Crusey had seven kills, 10 digs and two aces, Laura Rosselit had three blocks, Kara Trimbach had 29 assists, Jordan McMahan had 13 digs and Taylor Prall had two aces.
The win was also Tippecanoe’s ninth straight and 12th in its last 13 matches. The Red Devils face Wyoming Saturday at Trent Arena for the district title.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter. Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.